Generating Revenue


#1

Recently a poll has been opened regarding advertisement placement. This prompted me to open a separate topic about some adverts that I see which might be inappropriate. Here I wanted to talk about various revenue streams and what options OGS might have.

I see four realistic revenue streams:

  1. Advertising
  2. Site-Supporters
  3. Swag
  4. Go Books/Products

1. Advertising

OGS clearly has this covered. I think better adverts might make OGS look better and would probably make more revenue, but this might take more time than is currently available.

2. Site-Supporters

Imagine a more-or-less constant campaign to enlist more site-supporters. Perhaps advertising becoming a site supporter rather than showing an advert sometimes.

I’m aware of the little link underneath each advert. That’s not what I mean - I mean a picture of someone playing Go, looking happy, with a caption like, “Doris supports OGS, look how happy she is without adverts, safe in the knowledge that for only a few bucks per month she’s giving back to a website she loves. Click here to be like Doris.”

3. Swag

When I’m playing Go on OGS I want to wear an OGS T-Shirt. I want to be drinking black and white coffee from an OGS mug which I rest on an OGS coaster or, failing that, an OGS mouse-mat. I want to pay you money for these items. If the T-Shirts are good, I’ll probably get two, even if they’re $40 each, and I’ll probably end up getting the hoody for $60 as well. Unfairly, you haven’t given me the option of buying any of these things.

Surely there’s some sort of T-Shirt, hoody, mug making company out there you could partner with next week? If you partnered with them next week then I could probably order my hoody in time for thanks-giving.

4. Go Books/Products

You guys probably have a games shop in your town that sells Go books and Go boards. Why don’t you contact this shop and say you want to setup a web-shop on OGS? They can handle all of the orders, customer service & deliveries, returns - they can handle all the boring stuff and the hassle. All you get is your negotiated cut from the proceeds. They’ll probably give you a decent cut because you have a massive audience of Go players - people who like to buy Go books and products. They’re probably desperate for you to come along and help them compete with JonnyGo.com, who seem to have Amazon & eBay all worked out tidily.

Anyway, just some ideas, thought I’d get them off my chest.

Anyone else got any ideas?


Speeding up OGS around the world
#2

I currently have OGS stickers from the 2016 US Go Congress.
More swag please. However, I don’t need generic t-shirts and mugs.


#3

I’m shocked at how few players are site supporters.

I believe the first two months of play should be free and thereafter should be 99 cents US (or the overseas equivalent) to continue, PayPal, credits card, mail in a check, whatever.

Want to make a new account every sixty days and keep playing for free? Be my guest, but you’ll always be a newbie without a golden logo, and (unlike now), old record of games and OGS friends–basically the entire account for those who have never been a site supporter–will be deleted.


#4

A lot of people in the Forum and Chat have expressed an interest in being a site supporter (including me), but would like to make an annual or semiannual donation, rather than the current system. I make limited use of my credit card and don’t wish to have a monthly bill for 5 or 10 dollars.


#5

Microtransactions. All the cool kids are doing it. Just look where it’s gotten EA. \sarcasm

What about some kind of premium service. Like want to play more than 10 games at a time? Gotta be premium. Just as long as the fundamental game is free.


#6

Agree, Conrad. You should be able to pay $12 a year to play in the server (but to avoid headaches from partial refunds, etc., once the money is paid, it’s gone, no refund nightmares for OGS staff.


#7

I second the SWAG idea. Give me that sweet OGS booty!
To tie it in with the ‘we want bulk membership’ crowd, perhaps every purchase over $10 could come with a free 1 year site supporter sub.


#8

Corporate Sponsorship: If providing quality bandwidth to specific areas of the world is placing a financial burden on OGS team, I think It would be worthwhile to reach out to companies that want to promote healthy recreational options for the communities they serve and do business with. The general public associates Go with intellectual acuity and mental health, a business that finds value in being associated with both intellectual acuity and mental health could pay money to become an official OGS sponsor.


#9

So far, I like the idea of Doris best.


#10

The thing is with swag and adverts appealing to community spirit is that they gain momentum. As people invest in the site by buying & wearing swag, they tend to buy more swag, or become a site-supporter, or donate, or join in on the forums, or help new people. Maybe when they want to buy a Go board they decide to do so through OGS rather than the faceless amazon machine.

Such things are good for long-term growth. They encourage participation and adoption.


#11

Amazon affiliate links? Not sure if those make a lot of money.


#12

They probably don’t, but they may be less effort/hassle than arranging a partnership with a Go store.


#13

I agree with OP. Swag is a must. T-shirts, hoodies, labelled GO bowls, labelled GO boards, caps etc.

Start small (t-shirt, cap) and if there is enough interest then expand your selection.


#14

The only downside to Swag…and it’s a huge downside…is the time and effort for ordering items (with an outlay of cash up front), warehousing the stuff (even if in the guest bedroom), taking orders by third party app or email, buying boxes or getting them from the P.O. (only Priority Shipping boxes are free), processing orders to shipments, fielding customer questions (expect your email box to blow up…ton of emails), accepting returns (“Sorry, my T-shirt doesn’t fit”), fielding complaints (“Wait, you’re T-shirt runs small, and you want ME to pay the return shipping to OGS for the exchange”), filing Fed and state taxes yearly on any income, the list goes on and on. Get ready to know your postal clerks on a first name basis because you’ll be seeing them every day. Frankly, even if processing one or two orders a day, every day, weekends, holidays, etc., trust me (my wife did it from our home for a while), it becomes a full-time job! Selling T-shirt’s through third parties, like Cafe Store, robs you of all the profit and, to be honest, few will pay the premium they want for a tee shirt (most are like $25 per T-shirt…come on, now).

Much easier is charging 99 Cents a month to everyone who uses the website (after the free trial period), processed via Square, PayPal, etc, and for those that do not want ongoing monthly billing, they can simply pay $12 all at once annually through those services, or by check, money order, cash In person, lol, etc. Once the payment system is set up (eg auto messaging to remind annual subscribers of yearly dues), it almost manages itself.

Can you imagine if every unique user of this site paid a measly 99 Cents a month each. It’d a a sweet…and well deserved…ongoing chunk of change.

PS Sorry Farraway, this reply came under your post; it was meant as a general thread reply.


#15

Yep; completely agree. I found a few companies that you can outsource all of that to, though - because individuals buy the swag from a 3rd-party (and OGS just earn commission) the 3rd-party handles all the shipping, returns, customer service, etc.

Here they are: https://www.spreadshirt.co.uk - famous things like Rubiks Cube use them. They look pretty above-board.

If you’re not doing it you’re earning nothing. So the size of the commission is immaterial!


#16

What I read from your comment was something along the lines of “doing your own retail is really really really hard and takes a whole heap of time, and for some reason, we can’t find anyone willing to do all of that for us and still let us keep all the profits.”

I think if OGS is in a place where a $1 p/m subscription actually has a significant, measurable effect. Then maybe the small amount of profit they get in return for letting some other company do all the leg work is still a really viable and attractive offer for them.

On top of that, I really can’t stress enough how bad of an idea I think it is to force subscription on users in this market. Almost all go servers are free and we’re not so special that we can charge everyone to play here, even if it is only $1 p/m


#17

Also, merchandise has the added benefit of promoting OGS and go in general. I would love to have an OGS t-shirt. I’d wear it every Sat to my go group at the library.


#18

Second this. In fact, this value could far exceed any tangible financial profit…


#19

Personally I don’t think the idea of limiting play for non-paying users is a good idea as it might scare away some of the user base.

However, I love the swag idea. I would definitely buy a mug or a T-shirt if it was available. Even if this isn’t the most profitable idea I think that many more users would want to pay for this. Please, make it happen! :grin:


#20

I don’t use T-shirts, but I’d love a mug (OK, make that a FEW mugs, large ones), stickers, a nice and durable lanyard …